Posted on March 2, 2014 · Posted in South East

Following on from the South Western Railway MPV talk on Monday 27th January, Chris Loder, Head of Business Projects, kindly invited a group of IRO members to visit one of the key bases of MPV operations, Effingham Junction. Chris began by showing us around the facilities provided for MPV operators which have been refurbished to provide a clean, comfortable environment for the South West Trains drivers who are now diagrammed on MPV operations. Whilst we were there, works were ongoing to renew the five road shed (formerly seven roads for Class 455s and steam before that). Chris pointed to progress so far such as replacement of external windows and the next part of the project, overhaul to the roof of the building. Chris also pointed out the new diesel storage facility which enables to more diesel to be stored on site, reducing the need for daily deliveries. Chris also highlighted the movement of water provision which now enables driver diagram efficiencies to be made as MPV units can be filled with water once inside the depot.

Attention then turned to the reason for the works being undertaken on the shed; the MPVs themselves. There were three units on the depot at the time of our visit. One of which was being prepared to assist with de-icing duties. Chris told us about the dual role the units have with track clearance during leaf fall and de-icing of the third rail. Although these activities cannot be carried out at the same time, the benefit of the units being able to undertake both activities is that it is easy to switch between the two. Chris also alluded to the MPVs being used for other purposes during the summer months but stressed that at the moment they were all just ideas.

Although quiet due to the time of year it was easy to imagine the depot being a hive of activity in the leaf fall season as productivity increases and the benefit the MPVs offers is realised by drivers and passengers alike.